New IPG/MTR for the WMCQ

Hi all,

A new Infraction Procedure Guide (IPG) has been published and will take effect just in time for the first World Magic Cup Qualifier (WMCQ). At the same time, a new Magic Tournament Rules (MTR) will take effect (the WMCQ being the first competitive tournament it will be relevant). With about 130 eligible players for the tournament (not counting Turin), we might have one of the biggest tournament in Switzerland beside Nationals (or so I hope). I would therefore like to discuss a few changes that I think might make a difference in the way you play there…

In this post, we will discuss the following new changes:

  • Electronic Devices
  • Life total and tracking
  • Top 8 Play/Draw
  • Missed Trigger Infraction

You find all the document in the Document Center of the Wizards Play Network.

Electronic Devices

Players may use electronic devices to do the following:

  • Keep track of life totals or other game-relevant information.
  • Take and review notes (as outlined in section 2.11).
  • Generate a random number when the game calls for one.
  • Briefly answer personal calls not related to the game (with permission of the opponent).

Players may not use electronic devices to access outside strategic sources (websites, forums, etc) or communicate with others in order to receive outside assistance. Players that spend excessive time on any of the above uses of electronic devices may be subject to Slow Play penalties.

Players wishing to view information privately on electronic devices during matches must request permission from a judge.

The Head Judge of an event may further restrict or forbid the use of electronic devices during matches.

What does it mean

Basically, you now can use your mobile phone (unless the Head Judge disallow it, so listen to the announcement!) to look up the oracle text of a card or to keep track of life. You can also use it to roll a die but make sure your opponent is okay with that before doing it. If you look up things on your phone, make sure your opponent can look as well or call a judge before looking so he can make sure you are only accessing allowed information. If you take too much time with your device (Convincing your girlfriend you will be a bit late because you are currently winning), you might be subject to slow play penalties.

Life Total and Tracking

At the start of a match, each player must indicate how he or she will keep track of his or her life total. This method must be visible to both players during the match. A shared method is acceptable as long as all players in the match have access to it.
A change in a player’s life total should be accompanied by a verbal announcement by that player of the new life total.

If a player notices a discrepancy in a recorded or announced life total, he or she is expected to point it out as soon as the discrepancy is noticed. Failure to do so will be considered a Cheating – Fraud penalty.

What does it mean

At the beginning of the game, tell your opponent how you will track your life. You can, if you wish, have an electronic device shared between the two players to track both life totals. However it has to be available to both at all time (so no looking things up after sharing your phone!). Life change HAS to be announced verbally (saying “fetch” doesn’t cut it anymore… say your new life total as well: “fetch, going to XXX”).

And like always, if you notice something wrong, call a judge!

Top 8 Play / Draw

In certain Premier tournament playoff matches (Magic: The Gathering Players Championship, World Magic Cup, World Magic Cup Qualifiers, Pro Tour, Pro Tour Qualifier, and Grand Prix), a different play/draw rule is used. In these playoff matches, the player that was ranked higher in the Swiss rounds chooses either to play first or to play second in the first game of each match. For the second and subsequent games, the loser of the previous game decides whether to play first in the next game. This alternate play/draw rule may be used in other tournament playoff matches. If used, this must be announced prior to the start of the tournament.

What does it mean

At the next WMCQ, players having a better rank in the final standing will decide if they want to start or draw, basically giving them an edge. The first player in the standing will always decide and the 8th never will. The rule can be used for other tournament (like Game Day or Grand Prix Trial) and need to be announced at the beginning if used but is mandatory for all other competitive play.

Missed Trigger Infraction

The infraction for missed trigger came out in December and was to take effect on the 2nd of January. However the changes were too big and the ramifications too wide to get it right in one go and had to be reverted soon after. The new release of the IPG offers a version of the rules.

Here is in a very short list what you basically need to know about the rule:

  1. At Regular REL, both players are still responsible for ensuring triggers are played and resolved correctly. Nothing changes here.
  2. At all RELs, you are still responsible for all your triggers. Forgetting them intentionally is Cheating – Fraud. If you realize a bit later that you missed a trigger, call a judge.
  3. At Competitive and Professional RELs, you are not required to point out your opponents triggers. If they miss one and you want it to happen, point it out right away and they’ll have to do it. Past that, if you want it to happen, call a judge.

The infraction now also mentions something called “lapsing triggers“. If an opponent catches and calls a judge on one of these in a short time frame, he may have a judge put that trigger on the stack. If an opponent doesn’t catch it, or doesn’t mention it in time, we do nothing. The time frame is based on dividing the turn into three parts: pre-combat, combat and post-combat. If it is caught in the same part in which it should have triggered, it can be put on the stack. Any other time after that and it’s too late. A corollary to this is that a judge watching your match will not point out any missed “lapsing” trigger.

Again: you still can never deliberately “forget” your own mandatory trigger, even if it’s one that would be “lapsing”. Attempting to do so will get you disqualified.

In order to be considered “lapsing”, an ability must do one or more of the following things, and nothing else. An ability which does things in this list, but also does other things, is not “lapsing”:

  • Causes you to gain life
  • Deals damage to an opponent or causes an opponent to lose life
  • Causes an opponent to discard cards
  • Instructs you to look at and/or rearrange cards in a zone
  • Puts cards into your hand from your graveyard or the exile zone
  • Puts a permanent onto the battlefield under your control or gives you control of a permanent
  • Puts counters linked to a beneficial effect (such as +1/+1 counters or charge counters) on one or more permanents you control
  • Gives one or more permanents you control +X/+Y or a beneficial ability
  • Untaps one or more permanents you control
  • Gives you additional phases
  • Exiles, deals damage to, destroys, taps, gives -X/-Y to, or puts counters associated with a detrimental effect (such as -1/-1 counters) on one or more permanents controlled by an opponent
  • Instructs an opponent to exile a permanent he or she controls or put a permanent into his or her library or graveyard

The full definition of “lapsing” is in section 3.1 of the IPG; the same list, with examples and commentary, also appears in L5 Toby Elliott’s article. Most of the changes beside the first 3 points I mentioned above have to do with fixing the infraction and is not really relevant to player but something our Swiss judges will have to learn before the big event on the 14th 🙂

As the changes to the Missed Triggers might a bit confusing for a lot of players, there will be a future article covering those in detail again soon (means by the end of the week). Until then feel free to ask your questions in the comments field below or in the forum.

See you at the next tournament soon!